Vitamin C and the Immune System: What You Need to Know

Vitamin C is one of the most common supplements taken to aid the immune system.

It was popularized by Nobel Prize-winning chemist, Linus Pauling, in his 1970 book entitled Vitamin C and the Common Cold. At that time, it was believed that regular intake of vitamin C could possibly stamp out the common cold.

Though that vision never came to fruition, several studies have been conducted throughout the years on the preventive and curative properties of vitamin C.

Benefits of vitamin C:

Sources of vitamin C:

Vitamin C can be found in a wide range of foods other than the most notable citrus fruit varieties. It is also in a variety of vegetables including broccoli, kale, bell peppers, and sweet potatoes.

Causes of vitamin C deficiency:

  • Smoking
  • Heavy drinking
  • Poor diet
  • Kidney disease requiring dialysis.

Vitamin C deficiencies are associated with weakened immune systems and lead to a higher risk for prolonged illnesses.

Can vitamin C prevent or treat COVID-19?

While there are several limitations on vitamin C-related research, there are three studies currently being conducted in China to test the effect of high-dose vitamin C on critically ill COVID-19 patients. One study is even being conducted in Wuhan – the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. Though the studies are still ongoing and results have not been published, previous studies have shown that vitamin C therapy can lower the death rate for patients with sepsis (a form of infection) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which are the most common conditions leading to ventilator support or death among those with severe COVID-19 infections.

As the research continues to develop, the known benefits of vitamin C make a strong case for ensuring your body has the nourishment it needs to stay healthy and ready to fight disease.


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